Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has said the local community have been left deeply frustrated and disappointed at the Infrastructure Minister’s decision to negatively reprioritise the Ballynahinch Bypass.
The South Down MP was responding to the announcement by Nicholla Mallon MLA this week on her budget priorities for the year ahead in which the Ballynahinch Bypass did not feature.
Mr Hazzard said:
“The Ballynahinch Bypass scheme is a relatively low-cost, yet strategically important infrastructure project that is shovel ready awaiting the commencement orders to be signed off by a Minister.
“It is deeply disappointing that the Minister has seemingly taken the decision to instead relegate this scheme when it is so close to delivery.
“Having campaigned for this infrastructural improvement since the 1960s, the local community are again left frustrated, and question how a minister with a capital budget of more than £544million to be spent this year cannot move to commence works on a low-cost project that is shovel ready.
“Not only will this scheme greatly improve transport connectivity in the local community and wider South Down area, but in light of the severe economic impact of COVID19 and ongoing Brexit uncertainty, the successful delivery of this project would have been a vital step in improving both our local economy and the wellbeing of our local community in these difficult times.
“I would ask the Minister to urgently review her priorities, and find the budget space to sign off on the Ballynahinch Bypass as soon as possible.”